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What is consciousness ?

What is Consciousness?

The concept of consciousness can be looked at from a number of perspectives.

Consciousness, commonly refers to being self aware, or conscious of one's own existence. We identify ourselves as an individual, are aware of our thoughts and emotions, and our physical body and its relationship to the world around us. But what is it that is conscious? Is it a construct of the mind? And is the mind a product of the brain? Is Consciousness the result of the mind's interaction and interpretation of the external and internal world?

When the mind becomes less cluttered, it's possible to observe thoughts taking place, emotions too. What is that observes? Is it still the mind? Is this observer our true individual consciousness?

There is another interpretation that sees Consciousness, not as the end result of experience, but as the origin of thoughts and emotions, and of existence itself. Consciousness in this interpretation is also known as: The Absolute, Brahman, Universal Self, Love, or God.

It is popular to make  parallels with ideas in modern physics. For example space is considered not to be empty, but a source of virtual particles, coming into, and going out of existence, which can become 'real' under the right circumstances. Similarly, Consciousness is said to be the substrate for all existence, which manifests as the world we experience.

Consider Consciousness as a pond of water. It's undifferentiated and has no structure. Our experience of individual consciousness is like a wave on the surface. We interact and experience other  waves, but are unaware of the depths of the pond. But waves only exist as movements of consciousness and don't exist in their own right, eventually becoming part of the stillness once again.

What are our experiences- mind, body, or depths of the pond...?

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If this interests you then take time out from your usual Sunday afternoon and spend a couple of hours in the company of other kindred spirits. Entrance is free, just pay for your own refreshments. We have great new venue. Please arrive on time to order your refreshments and find a table.

www.meetup.com/PHILOSOPHY-CAFE/ 
www.practicalphilosophysussex.com/ 
www.mokshacaffe.com/       

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  • mike r.

    Thought, emotion and action are the trinity of consciousness. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit or Osiris, Isis, Horus, or Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. They are all allegories to describe the same process. Consciousness operates on several planes of existence
    and ultimately manifests in the physical, material three dimensional realm which we are experiencing as a Human being. They are inseparable and one should beware any religion or philosophy which attempts to deny or obfuscate the existence of either of them.
    To know, and to not do, is to not know at all.

    'As above, so below; as below, so above'

    The Kybalion. Hermetic Philosophy. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kybalion-Hermetic-Philosophy-Revised-Updated/dp/1907347011/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1481102554&sr=1-1&keywords=kybalion

    1 · 2 days ago

  • sat k.

    Intreasting question.....problem maybe is I feel cannot be proved intellectually only experienced....

    November 25

    • sat k.

      I have found in my experience to `stop` thinking is the best thing....Continue meditating.......It is not who you are....hard to do but possible. conciousness is unfathomable...it cannot be spoken about....cannot be`seen`,yet completly natural state...problem is we cannot access it trying to attain or think about it......its connected with mind but a `no mind`state state somehow.....

      3 days ago

    • Breffni

      Whilst I have a lot of sympathy for what you have said, and certainly in my own case I love to attain an inner silence free from what (I think) you call "thinking", I do not then conclude that thinking is to be avoided altogether, which is what you are coming perilously close to suggesting. Rather, I suggest to you that thinking can itself be considered a meditative activity, given the possiblity that consciousness may, as it were, stand back from, in order to listen and consider thought without beng possessed by it, and to fail to admit this is to deny the virtues not only of creative activity in literature (of any kind) but also of the writings of the great spiritual teachers, none of whom were, after all, illiterate nor who spent their lives in silence.

      3 days ago

  • todd a.

    Excellent discussion - Noisy venue.

    4 days ago

  • David T.

    Interesting presentation by Neville Hodgkinson (4th Speaker at 'Just This Day' 2016):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-A­bWJxFlF8&list=PLF6yw3KWPZJ7LC2­2_Yha-tAdG3xEAMce9&index=4

    5 days ago

    • michael

      interesting vid

      4 days ago

    • sat k.

      sound dosent quite match up to whos speaking...will have to re run. the buddhist nun looks intreasting....totally self serving others.....beautiful....­lose self intreast and serve others

      4 days ago

  • michael

    david vid interesting but human is at least three divinity joy warmth and if you study him carefully you will note that his 'divinity' is fine but his body is lonely like a child calling for fellow human warmth paticularly towards end of talk. Why? The only reason i can think that we are embodied is to learn body not to fly to the 'devine' for which , presumably, we have plenty of time when we are dead. Disembodied. - all three in balance would be nice. I suspect that too much divinity is emotionally stunting. Maybe to a point where emotions are inactive then you 'kill' budda cos hes killed his child within. (father, son, holy gohst? Dialectic? ...) (and thats just 3 human im told is actually 5)

    4 days ago

    • sat k.

      We are apparently`incarnate in human body` so we can pay off our karmic debts we`ve accumulated & by doing so we are `free`....we are all `divine` we just dont realise it!! realising our divine nature is a natural thing.... nothing religious,or flashing light experience... ....once we realise the `other person` is ourselves and we arent seperate then miracles will happen...we wont kill,steal,judge etc etc...but we have still quite a way to go yet,however at this point in time every soul from Atlantis "the Temple of Light"is here ready for the transition....The only death we can hope for in our lifetime is death of Ego since it is the cause of all greed,power struggles,attachments...­. wars...etc etc.....but we need it to survive somehow....just needs to under control

      4 days ago

  • todd a.

    Excellent meet up. Lovely people and very rich topic.

    5 days ago

  • Sandra van der F.

    First philosophy meet up for me. Found it really interesting to talk to people at my table. Look forward to another good debate in the new year

    1 · 5 days ago

  • Sandra van der F.

    Really interesting debate in nice and cosy atmosphere

    5 days ago

  • Charlie

    Excellent! A very lively debate with lots of difference in opinion made for a great afternoon

    2 · 5 days ago

  • Diante

    At least no one has mentioned silly old Descarte'.....Dustcart or whatever his name is.

    6 days ago

    • Breffni

      But they do not need to Diante because he lives and breaths in far too much of what has been posted here! Descartes, or the view he encapsuates, is at the very core of Wittgentein's demolition of the so-called "private language argument", in other words of the view that consciousness exists prior to language and can, as it were, stand outside, to de-scribe its "experiences".­ Wittgenstein's analytic of language not only returns consciousness and the subject to the Social, it exemplifies a rigorous practice of philosophy as an engagement both with and WITHIN language such that the situated Identity of the subject as a One who could be Other, may become visible.

      1 · 6 days ago

  • michael

    some time ago I re conceptualised philosophy as the intuitive and hypothesis generating aspect of science.

    In this vein i found it helpful to reconceptualise consciousness as the act of attending.

    this gave a lot of interesting corollaries. The first of which was almost a law of psychology:

    that which one attends to is energised and
    that which is energised one attends to.

    it proved quite a 'fruitful' journey (as in - the feminine principle gets the knowledge as the one brave enough to pick the apple.)

    Down with religious idealism. Long live the fruitful tree! And apples to all of you in this very short season of good will.

    November 25

  • michael

    by the way does every consciousness have a personal star so it can hang around in timelessness (not) waiting for a new body?

    November 25

  • Joanna

    I read things written by Bernardo Kastrup who is a nuclear scientist and believes that the whole of our experience and the objects the around us its all conciousness

    2 · November 21

    • David T.

      This will be part of the discussion

      November 24

  • mike r.

    Is consciousness a byproduct of the brain, or is the brain a vehicle for consciousness? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZeRP16UAAg

    2 · November 7

    • Breffni

      But how can you consider it a question if it already presumes the availability of a terminology that compromises the question i.e. of the form "either A or B, then A is not B" ? Or are you willing to accept the very possibility of intelligible discussion itself as NOT also being a phenomenon of consciousness ? Like it or not, there is NO "external viewpoint" if the question is to be genuinely posed, because it remains a question already within language.

      1 · November 22

    • Reg G.

      Succeeding initial apologies for contentious frankness, it should be said that the above is a very poorly assembled... 'welter,' that required long scrutiny to make sense of. Scorning the first question of the welter, for reasons presumably manifest, then the second can also be discounted when postulating that for something to be intelligible, consciousness is necessary, (presupposing something like the notion of consciousness as the awareness and simultaneous presencing of having and making present things eliciting the awareness and presence of the having of, and making of, the presencing entities, and the aware awareness with acknowledgable mental comportment toward the aforesaid.) The possibility of intelligible discussion as not being a phenomenon of consciousness is absurd, accordingly. To be intelligible, it must be capable of comprehension, and comprehension necessarily employs consciousness.

      1 · November 23

  • Reg G.

    Very intriguing, though in Portsmouth and under some financial constraint...

    November 22

  • mike r.

    The ability of a being to recognise patterns and meaning with respect to events taking place, both within oneself and in the realm in which the self exists.

    October 3

  • Breffni

    Can "consciousness" even be addressed within language if the very availability of the topic is already presumed ? In other words, can we consider consciousness to exist prior to language, or, if the genesis of consclousness only coincides with the aquisition of language, then isn't any discussion merely a display of one possible society ? Or, isn't it more interesting to read the question itself as such a display ?

    1 · October 3

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